Cristina Page, Troy Newman “Clash” on PBS over Late-Term Abortions

Cristina Page took one for the team and went up against Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman on a PBS "Issue Clash," debating late-term abortions. You can vote for the winner of the debate here!

To Newman’s claim that

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports that there has
never been a late-term abortion in Kansas to save a woman’s life. The
majority of physicians concur that a post-viability abortion is never
medically necessary. If there is a life-threatening condition to the
mother or child, the baby should be delivered and given the appropriate
medical treatment.

Cristina responds, "There are a wide array of tragic conditions that can harm a pregnancy,
threaten the viability of the fetus and the health and life of the
woman. Until you have walked in the shoes of those who have suffered
through these decisions, you can never know what the right course of
action is."

In response to the question, "What impact does late-term abortion have on our society?" Newman responds,

A civilized society is judged by how it treats the weakest of its
members. Access to an act that kills a viable baby devalues the lives
of all members of society. I believe that drive-by shootings, mothers
throwing away their children, and even the shootings of abortionists
all stem from the abortion culture that openly implies that a person
who is inconvenient is somehow disposable.

In Newman’s formulation, women become the disposal ones.  Cristina rebuts, 

I think, to understand the impact, we must hear from women and their families who have needed an abortion at this stage of pregnancy. Typically these are much-wanted pregnancies diagnosed with grave or fatal anomalies.
They were women diagnosed with cancer who could not start chemotherapy
unless they terminated their pregnancies; women whose babies would be
born only to suffer from genetic illness and die soon after; children
who were victims of rape or incest and didn’t understand they were
pregnant until many months along. So, the impact on society can only be
measured by the despair lessened and the mercy provided to women, girls
and those families in these tragic circumstances.

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  • invalid-0

    This is the first cardinal rule of debate. Don’t accept your opponents’ methods of saying what’s important; tell your own story. And Christina Page obviously gets that. I’ll have to watch that interview, so thanks for the headzup, Emily. Anybody interested in wanting to learn more about this, read “Don’t Think of An Elephant” by George Lakeoff or just google him on YouTube. Lots of stuff there. (While you’re at YouTube, search Brian Swimme too.–Different topic, but it’s my passion, so I like to name drop whenever I can.)

    • invalid-0

      You people feel so intelligent so logical, was in it only 50-60 years ago people started showering everyday and stopped going in the woods? Please you are all so good at destroying, you should be good at creating. You call yourself a humanitarian nation, with 50,000,000 murders and killings of babies? Hypocrisy at it’s fullest? You pro choice should be happy someone didn’t abort you? Or maybe you ought to ask how close you were to being a plastic garbage bag? There is NO, NO, excuse to kill 50,000,000 babies, and you pacifists that say well I’m not o.k. with it but, I know there doing it in clinics in my town, but I’m in my office with the A/C on, all comfortable here, and plus if I get into that I might loose business? You are murders too, when you do nothing to stop the killing of babies.

  • bj-survivor

    Kudos to Ms. Page. She remained serene, erudite, and iron-clad in her grasp of logic and reality. In short, she frelling pwned Troy Newman!

    I just love how the forced-gestation crowd is attempting to backpedal all the hateful actions, all the murderous rhetoric they have spewed over the last many decades. It would be comical if my gallows humor (honed through a few years as a registered nurse) were that low. Par for the course, unfortunately, for that crowd of disingenous, misogynist narcissists.

  • invalid-0

    Good read :-) I stumbled upon your blog recently, and it’s good to see that not everybody is exclusively into micro-blogging and Twitter :)

  • paul-bradford

    A civilized society is judged by how it treats the weakest of its members. Access to an act that kills a viable baby devalues the lives of all members of society. I believe that drive-by shootings, mothers throwing away their children, and even the shootings of abortionists all stem from the abortion culture that openly implies that a person who is inconvenient is somehow disposable.


    I wish Troy Newman had explained exactly what he means when he talks about the society ‘treating’ the unborn.  Any relationship between the society and the very young has to be mediated through the parents of the very young.  The only practical way that the society has of protecting the unborn is to enable parents to do the best job possible of caring for and supporting their children.


    Somebody has to decide whether abortion is the best thing for the woman who’s pregnant — and that person is the woman herself.  Somebody also has to decide whether abortion is the best thing for the child who’s being aborted.  That decision, like a lot of decisions that affect children, is made by the parents.


    Civilized society can’t be judged — not directly anyway — by the way the unborn are treated.  We must judge our society by the way it helps parents of the very young to understand, accept and meet their responsibilities to their children.


    Cristina Page’s arguments were always variations on this theme: "The women who sought Dr. Tiller’s help were taking their responsibilities seriously in the midst of difficult situations."  The examples she brought up were always examples of the society doing a relatively good job of being civilized.  


    Pro-Lifers dilute the strength of their own arguments when they focus on what happens in an abortion rather than why an abortion takes place.  In other words, they look foolish by concentrating on the symptom of the problem instead of the cause; but Newman doesn’t realize this and he identifies the problem to be ‘access to an act’ that devalues us.  We’re not devalued by the fact that an abortion is possible, we’re devalued to the extent that we’re to blame for making abortion desirable.  As long as Pro-Lifers insist that ‘access’ is the problem, Pro-Lifers are going to be losing debates.


    We shouldn’t be paying so much attention to late term abortion anyway.  Far better for Pro-Lifers to give the lion’s share of their concern to those in the first trimester of fetal development — the ones who are far more at risk than children in the second or third trimesters of development.  Many of those children really do have mothers (and fathers) who could use support in meeting their responsibilities and this support could make the difference between life and death.


    I like to stay away making condemnations of late-term abortion.  In fact, back on March 28 when Tiller was acquitted, I had this to say about the verdict:


    When you move into the area of medical necessity you find yourself in a position where the options are 1) death and 2) death.  There is no Pro-Life alternative when you’re looking at medical necessity, and in the situations stipulated by the Kansas Late Term Abortion Law there is no Pro-Life alternative.  The rule in Kansas is: no medical necessity, no late-term abortion.  That’s why George Tiller is the last abortionist I would single out for criticism.  I certainly think there are far better ways to protect the unborn than to hound Dr. Tiller.


    Newman is concerned about threats to the ‘viable baby’ but that very sort of thinking buys into the idea that we should become more concerned about a very young person as he or she gets more ‘baby-like’.  This shows how influenced we all are by the logic of Roe.  We’ve come around to the thought that our value as human beings is a function of how adorable we are.  If you’re going to get upset about the death of an unborn person in the seventh month of fetal development, you should get just as upset about the death of someone in the seventh week.  Viability doesn’t confer moral worth upon a person.  We’re of value simply because we’re human — and because we’re human we value the lives of other humans.


    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • invalid-0

      Is this what happens when people become civilized ?? You kill 50,000,000 babies!!! 50 million dollars in one place is a lot, what about 50 million babies piled up, how big of a hill would that be? You need to remove that name, catholic you are murder? Or Paul what would it be called if someone interrupted or aborted you between 1-9 months? Than that’s what you are doing to babies you are killing them by your doing nothing? Have you heard how the “doctors”, dismember babies alive by grabbing an arm or a leg and twisting till the rip it off, with the baby still alive? Is that what you Pro-Life Catholic for Choice, do in your clinics too? Your actions will lead you straight to hell and it does not matter if you believe in hell or not, hell believes in you? Or do you think you have your life bought and paid for? You could go this minute, this hour, this day, this week, who knows when it’s time to go? But one thing is for sure you better be right with GOD, because once you get to hell, there’s no return? Ask yourself if this is wrong to MURDER a man, a young man, a toddler, a baby and fetus, notice as they are smaller they are more innocent and more dependent. It only take someone with commonsense and a merciful heart to know this is wrong.
      Some of will say this is for doctors to decide, PLEASE. Doctors are like mechanics, good ones are few and hard to find! Or don’t you watch TV every other add is about if your doctor gave you this drug and you got cancer, your heart stopped, if you went blind, deaf, or your foot fell off, call us will sue them.
      I will tell you how we can solve it? WOMEN close you legs!!!!! There are billions of condoms, and pills, and birth control, with these there is no need to kill babies? If these were not available then you might have some excuse.

      • invalid-0

        But then it spoke demographic consequences of war, and what justifications can be put forward today? And still there are abortions on which number America keeps a palm tree of world superiority, orphans at live parents (here we also world leaders) and divorces where the next years also hardly somebody will catch up with us.

  • invalid-0

    They have reduced the number of abortions because they’ve instituted policies that positively affect men and women’s lives. They have comprehensive sex ed, access to contraception, and a real social safety net.

    We all lose when people within a society keep blaming abortion (read: women) for its ills. Look at the bible. Of course, the first “sin” was conveniently blamed mostly on Eve because she disobeyed god and “connivingly” convinced Adam to disobey him too, to which I say “Oh, really?” Then the next recorded sin, one that is irrefutably a moral wrong and crime, was when Cain killed Abel. So who had the abortion that caused the permissive environment motivating Abel “to kill outside the womb”? The motivating impetus on the part of Cain to kill his brother was jealously, I believe, due to Abel’s offerings to god being more pleasing. ***

    One could argue that there were no abortions during that mythical time. Fine. Again, taking away the presumption that Eve was blamed for the first sin, then neither Eve nor abortion can be blamed for Abel’s demise. Conversely, if Eve used herbal solutions to prevent and end pregnancies, then why doesn’t the bible say that god assigned blame to Eve and her “culture of contraception and abortion” for Abel’s murder?

    There are a variety of reasons why people commit crime—jealously, desperation, fear, greed, domination, etc. All these motivations have, unfortunately, evolved with humans as well as humans’ capacity for love, generosity, kindness, caring, humility, etc. Perhaps all beneficial and harmful human motivations/feelings can be boiled down to love and fear. But to blame women for exercising their legal right to end pregnancy for “creating a culture” that encourages other people to commit murder is illogical and violates the principal of personal responsibility that righties preach to everybody else.

    Reducing the number of abortions by making the economy work for everybody and providing an effective social safety net is a worthy goal. But the final decision must always be left to the woman, and Roe V Wade honors that private decision while doing the best job possible to limit that right as pregnancy progresses. All of societal provisions will never stop all abortions for a variety of reasons. And making abortion illegal won’t stop it either.

    ***Daniel Quinn’s Ishamel, an interesting work of fiction, hypothesizes that the Cain and Abel story is really talking about competition between hunter-gatherers and farmers.

    “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” (Florynce Kennedy)

  • invalid-0

    This article makes interesting points but I don’t agree with late term abortion. I believe in a womans right to choose an abortion but only up to a certain point. Thanks for putting thought and effort into your work.

  • jodi-jacobson

    What do you think should happen when the fetus is already dead, can not survive the birth, or the woman’s life is in danger?

    It is kind of sweeping to say you don’t agree with late abortion until you realize the reasons that people terminate pregnancies at that stage.

    There are many, many personal stories here on this site and elsewhere shared by people in the wake of Dr. Tiller’s death. To say these women should not have undergone a late abortion is to profoundly misunderstand the situations they faced.

    Thanks for writing. Jodi Jacobson